The False Promises of Green Materialism Recently, I’ve been thinking about buying a new pair of shoes. I don’t need new shoes—the pairs I have don’t hurt my feet, aren’t broken, and are sturdy enough to last through Virginia’s comparatively … Continue reading Consuming less?
The Ethics of Paternalism Imagine that you are a policy maker trying to reduce the consumption of soda. Because it’s unhealthy, you’d like to discourage the people in your community from drinking too much of it. You could put up … Continue reading The methodology of policy making
An Extra Nudge Can Lead To Big Behavioral Changes Scientists know that social nudges — encouraging people to modify their actions by comparing their activities to those of their peers — can lead to socially desirable changes. Just a single … Continue reading Crowding out in social nudges
The more money you make, the more fast food you eat The stereotype is that poor people eat more fast food than rich people, who virtuously eat only organic salads and cows with names. One problem with this assumption: It … Continue reading Fast food and income
Bags of nudges I am pretty sure that you, like so many environmentally conscious consumers, take your own reusable bags to the shops all the time. Maybe you simply have no choice — in a growing number of countries, disposable bags have … Continue reading Are bans effective?
Why Kids Want Things When Marsha Richins started researching materialism in the early 1990s, it was a subject that had mostly been left to philosophers and religious thinkers. In the intervening decades, Richins, a professor of marketing at the University … Continue reading Materialism is for kids
Thorstein Veblen’s The Theory of The Leisure Class In 2011, Thorstein Veblen was ranked seventh in a poll of economists on their favourite, dead, 20th century economist. He ranked behind Keynes, Friedman, Samuelson, Hayek, Schumpeter and Galbraith. His supporters were … Continue reading Conspicuous leisure